By Carl Jordan, Regional Sales Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Ad Dynamo by Aleph
It’s all too easy to underplay how social media and other online platforms have altered the advertising and marketing landscapes over the past 15 or so years. It’s given businesses of all sizes the ability to reach and engage with their customers in ways that simply wouldn’t have been possible previously.
Moreover, it’s given the marketing teams within those organisations a much greater sense of certainty that they’re reaching their intended target audiences. Rather than simply hoping that they reach those audiences through things like billboards and television ads, they can see and measure it in the data.
But simply being on these platforms isn’t enough. If businesses want to get full value for their presence, they need to ensure that their content is individually tailored to each platform. After all, different personas in their target audiences will be on different platforms at different times and will engage with them in different ways.
Tailoring, not fracturing
Before looking at what that entails, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that businesses should have separate brand identities on each platform. Consistency in identity and messaging is vital.
Remember, you’re still you, whether you’re in an important business meeting or hanging out with friends. But the language you use in business meetings and with your friends is different. You’re also unlikely to show up to a casual hangout with friends in a suit and tie or attend the business meeting in shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt and a baseball cap.
The same is true for social media. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a food company and you put together a fun, sponsored video of people enjoying your product at a market. That’s great for something like Instagram Reels, but probably wouldn’t work for a more business-oriented platform like LinkedIn.
Again, that doesn’t mean that you have to change your brand and personality for each platform. In fact, taking that approach carries with it the very real risk of fracturing your brand. Tailoring, at its core, means adapting things like the tone, language, and imagery of your messaging to be relevant to each platform.
Evolve with the platform
It’s also important that businesses remember that platforms are evolving all the time. They have to be to remain competitive and to ensure that people stay interested and keep visiting and engaging.
As a result, a post that worked really well when Instagram was only a platform for sharing static images, for example, is unlikely to have the same level of impact now that there’s an additional focus on Stories and Reels. Similarly, even though Threads is an Instagram product, it will have its own nuances that marketers will have to come to grips with.
The same is true for Snap, X (formerly Twitter), and even audio-streaming platforms such as Mdundo and Spotify. Each will go through its own evolution, and it’s critical that marketing messages are tailored to those evolutions.
Use the right partners
Of course, not every organisation has the knowledge necessary to tailor its marketing messages to different platforms. Nor can they keep up with those evolutionary changes themselves, especially with the ongoing proliferation of online platforms. That’s where working with a specialist partner can be especially beneficial.
Such a partner will understand the various platforms and how they operate. Ideally, they’ll also offer transparent pricing and ensure that you’re on the right platforms and reaching your intended customer base. They’ll also understand that a business doesn’t always have a major marketing budget and will get it started advertising with relatively small amounts, keeping costs within a predefined frame. Even small businesses can benefit from having such a partner. At Aleph, for example, we offer ‘trial’ budgets at lower minimum costs to allow new advertisers to give it a go and see if they gain value from it.
Ultimately, then, it should be clear that tailoring messages to individual platforms is crucial to marketing success, as is evolving marketing for those platforms. But organisations aren’t on their own on that front and can realise serious benefits from working with the right partners.